Feb/20

16

Delray Beach Kicks Off Monday

Mid February is always a favorite part of the season, Rotterdam wraps up, and the US spring swing begins in Delray Beach, if you consider New York a warm up Challenger.

Delray Beach is another hot ticket event, with Nick Kyrgios headlining this year as the top seed after Juan Martin Del Potro pulled out with continued knee issues.

Milos Raonic, who defaulted out of a final here a few years ago to Jack Sock. returns and faces New York finalist Andreas Seppi in the first round.

Kyrgios takes on his pal and American prospect Tommy Paul who is presently ranked 70. The winner could face struggling Frances Tiafoe who plays a qualifier.

Quality first round duels include Yoshihito Nishioka vs John Millman, NY Open champ Kyle Edmund vs Ugo Humbert, Miomir Kecmanovic vs Jordan Thompson, Taylor Fritz vs a qualifier and teen wildcard Brandon Nakashima vs Jiri Vesely.

Adrian Mannarino takes on feisty Korean Soonwoo Kwon. Jack Sock will take on last year’s champ Radu Albot.

Unfortunately Tennys Sandgren withdrew today with a knee injury presumably suffered in his New York loss to Steve Johnson, who is in Delray and plays Henri Laaksonen.

Kyrgios, the headliner, will hold his press conference tomorrow at 1. I will be there and try to count how many times he’s asked about if he’s finally serious about his career and keeping his focus on competing and not stirring controversies.

Bryan Bros are the top seed in doubles and play Kyrgios and Thompson out of the gate.

The most interesting questions about this tournament are how will Kyrgios do as the main ticket seller? Can he carry the tournament like Del Potro has the last few years? Will the men be able to fill the stadium court like local hero Coco Gauff did last night in her 63 63 exhibition against the Miami U. player?

And can Sock finally win a singles match and end his slump which dates back to Nov. 2018? Sock, now coachless, is not in the doubles draw so he’s 100% focused on singles.

How will Albot handle the pressure of trying to defend his only ATP title? The 30 year old is currently ranked 50, 11 spots below his careet best 39 last August.

As always, Delray Beach will be another superb tournament, as it is every year, and I will be there observing and reporting for the first four of five days.

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148 comments

  • catherine · February 18, 2020 at 10:57 am

    Jeff – I posted a link to that drug/Agassi stuff earlier – I assume it’s the same interview. Was on ubitennis.

    Seems fairly credible to me. Drugs were all over the place then.

  • Harold · February 18, 2020 at 10:59 am

    Saw Agassi come on the old grandstand court to practice w/ Nick B and entourage when he was 17 years old….immediately had words with the players still practicing..great player, always thought he wasn’t a nice person

  • Andrew Miller · February 18, 2020 at 11:02 am

    What objectionable things have I said about Nadal, who with Djokovic are destined for the top and number two spot in the sport’s history?

  • Andrew Miller · February 18, 2020 at 11:05 am

    “Marcelo Rios said so” <- Marcelo Rios was right about Korda. This doesn't match up with Agassi. If this proof (you need actual proof, as in the actual results) matches up then Agassi will pay the price.

  • Andrew Miller · February 18, 2020 at 11:14 am

    On Nadal, he’s a fierce, maybe the most fierce, player in the history of the sport, alongside Graf, Sampras, Serena Williams, Seles, Navratilova, Evert, Djokovic, Federer etc. and among its finest champions. I don’t think that comes together by happenstance, and I don’t mind saying that. I respect him and his game enormously, and I have enjoyed watching him play since around when he burst on the scene – I came a little late to the party in early 2004. Personally the fandom around these players is too much for me – I don’t think whole stadiums should be picking sides and I think a lot of players on outer courts deserve more fans.

    I certainly don’t like when Nadal is considered the most perfect (blah blah blah blah). He’s a person just like anyone, and like past champions he uses many ways to win matches that have nothing to do with how he hits a tennis ball. I don’t mind saying that, either – and it shouldn’t be controversial to say that at all. That’s part of Nadal – players that face him deal with how he psychs himself up in their presence and right in front of them.

    His fans should also recognize what he writes in his book about how ferocious he is and how his friends don’t like playing golf with them because he turns it into an intense competition. That’s Nadal speaking! I take the man at his word there.

    So if anyone thinks otherwise, that’s fine. I just go with what he says and does and what the effect is. He’s an incredible striker of the ball, and he is also a heckuva heavyweight in many, many other ways that have nothing to do with tennis, at all. It’s a tribute to Djokovic he’s done as well as he has facing the raging madman of Nadal on the court.

  • catherine · February 18, 2020 at 11:18 am

    Just watched Clijsters v Azarenka playing in Doha 2010 – very good. But OMG the courts were faster then and the tennis was so much better. All women’s tennis should be played on fast courts – only exception natural clay and grass.

    BTW – Has Azarenka retired ? I haven’t read anything but she’s not playing outside the US.

    Yastremska loses – Kiki must be laughing.

  • Harold · February 18, 2020 at 11:19 am

    My point was. Agassi admitted Meth use in his book..nobody goes straight to Meth.if they let him slide on a failed test for Meth, why shouldn’t one believe he failed other tests, and they were afraid to suspend him.

    Nadal has cause me more sports pain than anyone with the exception of Michael Jordan, as a Knick fan he took my heart out too many times, still respect his greatness. Same w/ Nadal as an avowed Fed fan, but you have to respect the guy.

    Your shots at Uncle Toni, and other statements just don’t seem to make sense. They did everything right for Nadal to be who he is, on court and off

  • Andrew Miller · February 18, 2020 at 11:44 am

    I feel misinterpreted. I LOVE Uncle Toni, I’m sorry he’s no longer the coach on the team and I am glad he sounded off. When he says Nadal’s dad and agent boxed him out I believe him, and when Nadal said it was a surprise to him that Uncle Toni was no longer the head coach I believe him too!

    I respect Nadal enormously and appreciated the chance to watch him play. I am sorry he doesn’t necessarily bring out the best in his fearful competitors, who rarely rise to match his intensity (although I feel they may be doing so in order to prevent a heart attack…Nadal’s intensity is almost too overwhelming).

    A very respectful competitor once the whistle has blown and the match is over. Generally calls things pretty plainly, a little stingy with praise but rightfully so in most cases – Nadal’s not the guy to call for hype on another player! All in all, one of tennis greatest players in all respects.

    That’s as much praise as I can give. Which as you can see is a ton. I haven’t said anything controversial about Nadal, I don’t put him down. Other than that I have a lot of big three fatigue, and I hope the next group of players develop the ability and mindset to take over the sport, as they should. Otherwise you’ll have past players like Roddick piping up about how the big three should get more and more first round byes and how tennis should experiment in ways to ensure we all get as many chances as possible to see the big three players win etc etc.

    As you can tell, I think that’s one of the worst ideas ever. Tennis at the top levels has a lot of merit to it in terms of if you are better, most of the time you win. If you play worse, most of the time you don’t. The rules are the rules. If someone messes with that and changes the rules so that you don’t face Federer for a few rounds and he sits out a few rounds, that doesn’t sound right. You shouldn’t change the sport to revolve around the stars, you should keep the sport fair so that the best players per tournament win.

  • Andrew Miller · February 18, 2020 at 11:47 am

    Hope Andreescu returns some day.

  • catherine · February 18, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Well Andrew, I think we all hope so too. She’s entered for Qatar but I’d be surprised to see her there. Not sure if IW is at all possible without preparation.

    Rybakina bts Kenin in SS Dubai. Mugs could be grinding her teeth.

  • Andrew Miller · February 18, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Kenin and the X growing on her back. Rybakina, who’s played well all year, beats her in three, 6-3 in the decider. What is going on with Bencic – Pavs can indeed do that to players but wow, a 6-1 6-1 drubbing in final two sets? The WTA tour is chaos!

    How long is Bajin going to stick around as coach? That’s a few early losses in a row for an impatient player.

  • Andrew Miller · February 18, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    How good is Kudermetova, who d. Yastremska aka Yaz? I guess the lefty must be good. Have not seen her play.

  • Andrew Miller · February 18, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    France: Pospisil d. Ruususvuori handily in two. Sinner d. Gombos in two. Pospisil has had a very good run in Europe. He should be very pleased.

  • Andrew Miller · February 18, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    Delray: Norrie closes out Fritz. At least Fritz pushed it to three. Fritz is fading.

  • catherine · February 18, 2020 at 1:29 pm

    Sorry, yes Kenin in lost in 3. I haven’t seen much of Kudermetova but will try to catch a live stream of her next match.

  • Harold · February 18, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    If Kudermetova is lefty, she must be ambidextrous, cause she beat Kenin playing righty😀

  • catherine · February 18, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    K’s next match is Muguruza and I don’t think they’ve met so could be close.

    Seems a never ending stream of Russians at the moment.

  • catherine · February 18, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    Rybakina bt Kenin. I think 🙂

  • Harold · February 18, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    Yay, not Kenin

  • Andrew Miller · February 18, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    Yikes, Tennis.com says Kudermetova plays lefty! Does any site get any of this correct on WTA players? I mean, they make up as much about them as I do 😉

    https://www.tennis.com/player/1366/veronika-kudermetova/

  • Andrew Miller · February 18, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    Not many Russians in WTA top 50, just a few. Pavs, Kudermetova, Kuznetsova. Another reminder today isn’t the late 1990s, early 2000s, when the Russians were seemingly everywhere in women’s tennis.

  • Harold · February 18, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    Last thing on Nadal/Uncle Toni.. do you really believe Nadal and his father pushed his uncle out? Is there a link to this story? Was Nadal feeling stale? Because anytime he was healthy he was piling up trophies. Can’t believe Moya was the only genius who figured out Nadal needs to get to 120 mph’s on his serve, and shorten points. Don’t think Uncle Toni was telling to hit moon balls and grind out matches

    Would love to see a firsthand story. My outside looking in belief was the Uncle didn’t want to travel, but what do I know?

  • catherine · February 18, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    Andrew – maybe it just seems that way because of the similar names from different countries – should say Slav perhaps not Russian. Kazakhstan players are mostly Russian.

    DKat now ranked 71 – quite a fall.

  • catherine · February 18, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    Sabalenka usual 3 settter bt Sakkari, running out 6-1 in 3rd. Tursunov still around ?

  • Hartt · February 18, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    Milos won his Delray match vs Istomin in SS, 6-2, 6-2. Milos didn’t play particularly well, but Istomin did not provide much resistance. I hope Raonic can raise his level for his next match, just to make it more enjoyable to watch. He will face Stebe. With Kyrgios’ withdrawal Milos is now the No.1 seed.

  • Andrew Miller · February 18, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    I take Uncle Toni at his word. Here’s the quote and link.

    “Until Rafael was 17, I decided everything, and then came the agent Carlos Costa, and then Rafael’s father got more involved, each one with their opinions. The truth is that with every year that passes, I decide less, and we have arrived at the point where I decide nothing.”

    https://www.foxsports.com/tennis/story/toni-nadal-quit-rafa-rafael-didnt-tell-nadal-end-of-2017-best-coaches-french-open-021517

  • Andrew Miller · February 18, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Anyways, re: Nadal, these things aren’t controversial. They are ho hum and pedestrian – a once and never again coaching change, etc. There has never been any drama around Nadal, most of his fireworks come from playing like the champ he is. The big three, four players have set quite a standard, and for the the most part up and coming players have followed their good guy example (though I hope they take up the ferocity part, too).

  • Andrew Miller · February 18, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    Dubai, Kontaveit quietly having a nice year.

  • Andrew Miller · February 18, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    Delray: #367 Kozlov (was) up on Ugo Humbert (!). Must beat playing challengers…can he pull this off?

  • Andrew Miller · February 18, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    Catherine, ethnic Russians, ok, like Kenin 🙂

  • Harold · February 18, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    Thanks for posting

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 18, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    Kozlov got in draw at 1030 this morning since Krueger left. Won first set barely then faded or Ugo rolled out his A game. Cash said he started with Nakashima via a mutual friend, researched the kid and decided to work with him. Bogomolov is with Sock, sock moved to Charlotte to be with his fiancee who lives there. Bogie has academy in Charlotte, they started five weeks ago.

  • Andrew Miller` · February 18, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    On Clijsters. Excerpt: “When Clijsters was asked to explain her comeback, last fall, she said, “I talked to my husband. He was, like, ‘Why not? Stop worrying about why, and ask yourself, “Why not?” ’ He made a very good point.”

    https://www.newyorker.com/sports/sporting-scene/the-meaning-of-kim-clijsterss-second-comeback

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 18, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    Rios will be called a wacko or conspiracy theorist. Be interesting to see if agassi sues Rios for slander. Be interesting to see if Rios drops more truth or fake news bombs.

  • Andrew Miller · February 18, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    Agassi has no reason to sue, he’d call Rios.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 18, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    Just finished Ugo Humbert biofile. Great biofile!

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 18, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    Rios might not accept that call Andrew.

  • Andrew Miller · February 18, 2020 at 7:41 pm

    How did Alcaraz get a wildcard? I know how he did – IMG got it for him. But if you’re #super low ranking, far worse than others, not seeing it.

  • Jeff · February 18, 2020 at 11:06 pm

    My apologies, Cath. I saw your link but didn’t see Agassi’s name in it.

    If Agassi doesn’t sue, then we have to believe Rios is telling the truth. The fact that Rios said specifically four times makes me suspect.

    Gutty win by Sock to make me eat my words as he rallies from a set down. Now you have to believe he will be favored to beat Johnson in round 2.

    Apparently Kyrgios felt that practicing with Sock was good enough for the week and decided to head south to Miami Beach…

    Tommy Paul vs. Foe is another classic to watch. And Fritz takes a step back with a loss that opens the door for Nakajima.

    Thiem with a puzzling second-set loss in Rio to a player ranked No. 341. This was a bad showing. Maybe you guys were right that he doesn’t have enough to ever win a Slam.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 18, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    Another reporter told me she saw Kyrgios playing basketball in the gym here AFTER he withdrew.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 18, 2020 at 11:33 pm

    Agassi has to sue Rios or he was a drug cheat. I believe Rios knows what he’s talking about. But what is the motive now for throwing Andre under a bus???

  • Jeff · February 19, 2020 at 1:19 am

    Yeah I saw that on Kyrgios and basketball too. I’m gonna keep up this week on Instagram and see where in Miami he ends up partying. Still gotta feel good for Tommy Paul.

  • catherine · February 19, 2020 at 2:18 am

    Andrew – Kontaveit does quite well until she reaches the step above – she won 2 games from Halep at the AO. Don’t know who her coach is.

    Although from Estonia in looks she is the spitting image of failed German player Carina Withoeft.

  • catherine · February 19, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    And after a short break I can report that Kontaveit bt Pavs in SS – K looks quite a limited player sometimes but she’s getting some good results.

    Simona playing well below her best. MTO for a back problem.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 19, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    Sock will be top player again. Fantastic win, showed guts and character. He is very motivated to show his fiancee his best tennis. To re prove himself. Bogie is perfect coach for him.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 19, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    Nakashima is schooling norrie. Humbert watched the end of first set by himself in crowd. Nobody noticed him in white warm up jacket. He came in at 43. Was sitting on phone outside stadium, only cared to see end of set. Nakashima could save American tennis.

  • Hartt · February 19, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    Thiem injured his knee in that match and was concerned about it. I think that was a big reason he played poorly for a while, but then did go on to win.

  • catherine · February 20, 2020 at 12:53 am

    Tursunov back with Sabalenka. Came out for short occ and Aryna still looks detached as ever. She says she’s learning not to hit so hard 🙂

    We’ll see.

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